05/29/2013 04:30 pm ET

Sgt. Eric Hille Walks 13 Miles To Soldier's Grave On Memorial Day (VIDEO)

An Iraq war veteran's walk to remember is now something that many won't forget.

Sgt. Eric Hille, of Murrieta, Calif., packed on 70 pounds of gear and walked 13 miles in his fatigues on Memorial Day to honor his fallen friend, Sgt. Eric Holke, at Riverside National Cemetery, the Los Angeles Times noted in a photo caption.

The moving picture of Hille kneeling at Holke's grave prompted curiosity about his purpose for such a grueling journey.

Turns out Hille, 33, was starting a Memorial Day tradition of marching to a soldier's grave, KCAL 9 reported in the segment above. He already has 20 marchers signed up for next year's trek and has earned admiration for his gesture.

"Thank you for your service then and now," one commenter wrote in response to The Blaze's piece about the photo. "Thank you for your courage and stamina. You exemplify the REAL AMERICAN HERO."

Hille, now a fire protection engineer, was on a mission with Holke in Iraq six years ago when an improvised explosive device (IED) took Holke's life, according to the Times.

“We have to do our best to continue to remember the ones who paid the ultimate sacrifice for what we have the privilege of doing in this country,” Hille told KCAL.